Allowing children to use the public restroom in school that corresponds to their perceived sexual identity if it differs from their birth biology is a line in the sand for Bible-believing Christians, the leader of an organization that affirms that God creates men and women for different and complementary roles said at a recent conference.
Owen Strachan, president of the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, said at the group’s 2016 annual conference April 11-12 in Louisville, Ky., the Bible’s teaching that God created mankind both male and female is not negotiable.
“I have a 7-year-old daughter who I adore, and I would rather die than have a little boy — however confused, perhaps not malevolent in intention — enter a restroom where she is without me there,” Strachan said in a video posted recently on the council website. “Let this be a conference where we say those sorts of things will not happen to our little girls.”
In a wide-ranging message titled “The Goodness and Truthfulness of Complementarity,” Strachan described the current debate about gender as “one of the last walls left in civilization and culture.”
“Our culture is collapsing around us, and if we do not continue to stand and take this final stand and hold this wall, we should recognize that our children will indeed suffer grievously,” Strachan said.
Strachan said it is never too early to begin teaching children about gender roles.
“If you’re training a son, for example, you’re trying to train a son — whether or not he ends up getting married, you don’t know that; only God knows that — but you’re trying to train him into this imprint of a Christ-like head, are you not?” he asked the audience. “Does that training only begin when a guy literally gets a ring on his finger? No, it begins when your son is 1, it begins when he is 2.”
Strachan, an associate professor of Christian theology at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Mo., said before he left on his trip to Louisville he took aside his 4-year-old son and told him “you are now the protector of the girls.”
“And he looks back at me, and he is ready to go,” Strachan said. “I mean he is ‘anybody who’s coming through that door is going down,’ according to Gavin.”
Likewise, Strachan said, parents should teach their daughters to model “a gentle and quiet spirit” taught in I Peter 3:4.
“It’s not that all women submit to all men,” Strachan said. “That’s not our viewpoint, but it’s not enough simply to deny that. You have to say that Christians have a unique way to train boys and to train girls.”
“There’s something unique in this universe called a quiet and gentle spirit that is uniquely feminine,” he said. “Most of the time when we preach or teach on this we tell people what it does not mean. We have to tell people what it does mean. We have to define these things, brothers and sisters. The culture is defining them for us. If we don’t teach these things, a secular, sex-obsessed, gender-blurring culture will be very, very pleased to educate our children, and in actual fact it’s doing so on all fronts right now. The church cannot go soft on these things. The church cannot lose its voice when it comes to manhood and womanhood.”
Strachan said Christian complementarity “does not accept the logic of the transgender age” that the body is “fluid and undefined.”
“Our body is a gift from God,” he said. “You may not feel that way. Terrible things may have happened to you in your past, but your body is not lying to you. You know why? God is not lying to you. God has made you either a man or a woman.”
Loaded into that frame is a “script” for gender roles in church and family, Strachan said. “Men are called to lead, provide and protect,” he said. “Women are called to nurture support and follow. The script is good. To be a helper is a dignified call. To raise children, for example, just to pick one issue, and make a home in obedience to Titus 2:5, is beautiful.”
“Let us be honest, feminism has driven women out of the home, and it sneers at domesticity,” Strachan said. “There is in all of us an egalitarian instinct. It’s planted in us by the fall of Adam and Eve. An egalitarian instinct means that we downplay differences. Complementarians recognize equality of the man and the woman as bearers of the image of God. That is unbelievable grounds for equality, the greatest grounds the world has ever known.”
Strachan said complementarians need “to be very careful within our own hearts about what I am calling an egalitarian instinct” when it comes to areas like the Bible’s teaching that males “are to be teachers and shepherds” in the local church.
“There is no New Testament call for elders to solicit wisdom from women before they make their decisions,” he said. “I’m seeing this out there as well.
“We need to be clear. Of course the elders live amongst the sheep,” he explained. “Elders talk to their wives. So there are all kinds of ways that elders are called by God to be involved in the membership of the church, but there is no New Testament imperative, as some are seeming to say out there in the public forum, that elders must listen to women, even bring women into elders meetings before making decisions. Again, this is what complementarity is.”